By Davide Basso
(EurActiv) — During a visit to Israel, French President Emmanuel Macron floated the idea of a coalition to fight Hamas modelled on the one that already exists against Daesh while also accepting the right of Palestinians to a territory.
In a joint statement in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday (24 October), Macron said France stands alongside Israel in its fight against Hamas, which he described as a “terrorist group”, in line with the designation used by both the EU and the US.
“I propose to our international partners” that “we can build a regional and international coalition to fight the terrorist groups that threaten us all”, explained Macron.
At first, it was unclear whether it was a question of extending the coalition against Daesh, a transnational Islamist terror group, to the fight against Hamas or whether he was proposing a second coalition.
Asked by the press, the Elysée explained that “the idea is to draw on the experience of the International Coalition against Daesh and see what aspects can be replicated against Hamas”.
“It will then be up to the partners, and Israel in particular, to express their needs”, added the French presidency.
The international coalition against Daesh enables participants to conduct operations on the ground, train armed forces, share information between partners and combat the financing of terrorism.
During his speech, Macron declared that “the priority of all democracies” was “to defeat these terrorist groups”. “You are not alone”, Macron told the Israeli prime minister, announcing his willingness to form such a coalition.
Macron also stated it was necessary to “fight these terrorist groups, without confusion and, I would say, without widening the conflict”, warning against the risk of a “regional conflagration from which everyone would lose out”.
He then called on “the Iranian regime” and its regional allies, Lebanese Hezbollah and “the Houthis in Yemen”, “not to take the ill-considered risk of opening up new fronts”.
Macron then added that it was necessary to relaunch “the political process with the Palestinians”. In other words, “the Palestinian cause must be listened to with reason”.
This means “accepting the legitimate right of the Palestinians to a territory and a state in peace and security alongside Israel”, said Macron.
Macron will meet with the Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday afternoon.